Populous With Short Stories | Drawn in Basic

Morr Music (2008)
By MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  October 22, 2008
4.0 4.0 Stars
I try not to overestimate the attention spans of people out there. In that way, I’m a lot like Italian producer Populous, who on this addictive collaboration with NYC singer/MC Short Stories seldom breaches the two-minute mark. Fans of Rob Crow or Ben Gibbard will savor the insistent charm of Short Stories’ voice: a cool, calm, lightly nasal but deftly melodic boy croon with a flair for neatness and an everywhere-evident soft spot for slightly overdone harmonizing. Fans of their own free time will appreciate the get-in-get-out MO of Drawn in Basic — an album that, in less careful hands, could suffer from its noncommittal teasing. Eschewing fleshed-out pop maps in favor of shiny fragments works oddly well for this duo, especially given the breadth and depth of the subject matter. War (“Bear Arms”), the economy (“Breathes the Best”), religion (“The Holy See”), and the end of the world (“Heaven Knows”) are all adroitly (if briefly) explored, but the swooping electronics, fuzzy textures, and ceaseless hooks keep things from getting heavy-handed or unmanageable. The instrumentals “Days” and “Raimondo” could have been lifted (respectively) from a Kompakt Ambient comp and a Solex B-side — meaning there’s something on this disc for anyone with digital itches that need a good satisfying scratch. Just don’t expect it to go on forever.
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  Topics: CD Reviews , Media, Books, Ben Gibbard,  More more >
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